General

What is Socialbnb?

Socialbnb is an innovative online platform that connects small and local aid organizations with travelers from all around the world. Many of these social or ecological aid organizations have unused rooms available which we list as temporary homestays on our platform. That way we do not only create a second source of financing for local aid organizations but also create a unique and authentic experience for travelers. With your stay in one of our Socialbnbs you directly support the aid organization on site. With the money for your overnight stay the organizations are able to build schools, plant trees, improve animal welfare and so much more.

Who is behind Socialbnb?

Socialbnb is a social Start-Up from Cologne which has its beginnings in 2016. The Socialbnb team consists of thirteen students that share the same passion for traveling and connecting people from different cultures with the mission to help aid organizations to be more self-sufficient and to create a sustainable tourism where everyone benefits.

What is an aid organization?

The term aid organization is very broad and widely used. While there are many big aid organizations working on an international level we support small and local aid organizations that have major difficulties in financing their projects due to a lack of continuous donations.  Most of the time, these aid organizations are run by one person or a group of people driven by one common goal attempting to solve social and ecological problems. Feel like you fit into our concept? Then find out how to list your aid organization here.

How do you decide which organizations to support?

In the last year, we worked hard on building up our catalog of quality standards. Each organization is checked according to our criteria and has to work on at least one of the sustainable development goals. On top, to us, it is especially important to establish a personal contact between our Socialbnb team and the workers at the local aid organizations. Each organization has to go through an in-depth Skype interview where our experienced workers can get to know the aid organizations and check the different quality standards. This way we can establish a personal connection and create a basis towards a great cooperation.

How do you ensure that the project is trustworthy?

First, we have a set of quality standards according to which each project is carefully selected. In the next step, we also make sure that we maintain a constant feedback loop with our aid organizations, such that we can ensure the best possible transparency to our travelers.

Is it safe to travel to your destinations?

We set up Socialbnbs only in regions that are safe for travelers. You won’t find aid organizations on our website that are operating in areas of crisis. Nevertheless, some destinations are in countries of the Global South and we would advise you to inform yourself about what you should be aware of in the country you are traveling to. You can find information about this in our blog.

Are the projects you support really sustainable?

Our aim is to create a sustainable tourism where everyone benefits. This means, that we want to enable the local communities to benefit from the positive effects that tourism can have. By supporting aid organizations, we support the development in these regions.
Sustainability means to us, that the local communities can have a longterm positive impact. That’s why we support not only ecological projects, but social and animal welfare as well, in order to improve the overall situation for the local community. All our projects support the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.

For travelers

Before booking

Where can I stay?

Browse through our destinations page and inform yourself about all the countries where we currently have aid projects. On the project profiles, you find detailed information about the work of the projects and the room you are staying in. The room situation is as different as our projects are. Some organizations have empty rooms for workers, that are not there the whole year, or they have hostel rooms because they are experienced in hosting travelers. Some are more comfortable than others, but all are really close to the project you support with your stay. That’s the best thing, cause this way you are able to visit the project and experience the daily life of a local aid organization as well as the culture up close.

If you have any questions about a certain project or can’t find the information on the project profile, feel free to contact us anytime through our info-mail or the contact form on the contact page.

How do I make a booking?

After having selected your dream destination you simply book by selecting the check-in and check-out date and the number of people you’d like to travel with. In the next step, you request to check the availability for a specific room, fill in your personal data and send your request. We will check the availability with our partners and will get back to you as soon as possible with the confirmation. This can take up to 48 hours. In the confirmation mail, you will find additional information about your stay.

How do I cancel a booking?

If you wish to cancel a booking, you have to send us an e-mail at least 48 hours in advance. That way we can make sure we can inform the aid organization in time. Please send your cancelation to booking@socialbnb.de or cancel your booking on your dashboard from your personal traveler account.

How many days in advance do I have to book?

As we have to check the availability with our partners it needs some time to confirm your booking and prepare your stay. It’s best if you book at least three to four days before your stay. In some instances, you can also book up to 48 hours in advance. In either case, we will try to do our best to organize the perfect stay for you.

After booking

I booked my stay. What happens next?

Once we receive your booking request, we will process the request and will get back to you within the next 48 hours to confirm the request. We will send you some more information about your stay as well as the total price and some guidelines with your confirmation Email. After that, all you have to do is wait and look forward to your stay!

How do I pay?

You directly pay at the aid organization on-site in cash. If you want to pay by credit card, please let us know before so that we can inform your host in advance.

What can I do while staying with the project?

During your stay in a Socialbnb, you will have a great local travel experience. On the project profiles, you find additional information about what’s close to your stay and what you can discover on site. Ask your Host at the aid organization for more tips. You are also more than welcome to visit the aid project and learn about how the organization helps to improve local issues. Just ask your Host for more information.

Can I get a discount, when I help the project on-site?

Socialbnb wants to support aid organizations by giving them a long term income. This way it’s important to pay the indicated amount for your stay on site. It’s not possible to get free accommodation in exchange for voluntary work.

Is it possible to volunteer?

Socialbnb is not a website to provide volunteers to aid organizations. We support aid organizations by giving them a long term financing alternative. Many organizations have enough workers or interested people that are looking for a job, they just need money to pay them. Volunteering can be useful in some cases. Especially, when you stay at least a few months. But if you stay only a few days at the organization you can have a greater impact by paying for your stay. Your Host is more than happy to show you the organization and their work, if you are interested and help you to experience local solutions to global issues.

Can I do more than just staying?

With your stay at the local aid organization, you are already a true Travelhero, as you help them to finance their day-to-day work. If you want to support the project even more, you can find out here our different options on how to have an even bigger impact.

I have to fly to my destination. Is there a sustainable way?

Sometimes there is no other option than taking a plane to your next destination. To compensate for your flight you can stay at a local environmental organization and help them to fund new trees. An additional option is to compensate your CO2 with our German Partner Travel & Plant. Click here to plant some trees and make your travels greener. You can also have a look at how many trees have been planted by all the other Travelheros out there.

How do I get to the project?

You can find all the information about transportation on the organization’s profile, as well as a map that shows the area. In your confirmation mail, you will get additional information about different travel options. In many cases, your host can arrange a pick up for an additional fee.

How do you ensure that the money goes straight to the project?

The aid organizations listed on our website are not able to sign up by themselves. First, they are checked by our team members and assessed with respect to our guidelines before you can book them on our site. In the next step, we also make sure that we maintain a constant feedback loop with our aid organizations, receiving constant updates on the latest developments and on what the money is used for. Furthermore, you pay directly on-site, so you yourself make sure that the money goes straight to the aid organizations. This way you can even experience where your money is going.

How can I see the impact of my stay?

Yaaay! That’s definitely the best thing about booking with Socialbnb. Since you’ll be directly sleeping at the local aid organization you can see exactly where your money is going. All the workers at the local aid organizations are more than happy to talk to you and explain their latest developments and future plans. We encourage the host and the traveler to keep in touch so that you see what your money has been used for.

I have a problem with my host. What can I do?

If you have any problems during your stay don’t hesitate to contact us at info@socialbnb.de or with our contact form. We will get back to you as soon as possible. In emergency cases follow the instructions in your traveler guidelines you got with your confirmation mail.

For aid projects

What do I need to become a partner of Socialbnb?

If you are an aid organization that is interested in our concept you are more than welcome to get in touch with us via this contact form at the bottom of the “For Organizations” page.  On this page, you also find more information about the requirements. We are happy to talk with you about the options and to hear about your great project on how to make the world a better place.

How is the process going?

After the first contact, we will make an appointment for a Skype call to check our criteria and to answer all your questions. In the next step, you have to fill in a form and send us information about your organization and the accommodation opportunities. We will check all the information, according to our requirements and set up your profile. Then you are ready to welcome our travelers and take your project to the next level.

How many travelers will come to my NGO?

That depends on many factors. Usually, it takes a few months until the first travelers are arriving. We will regularly promote your organization on our website and through our different marketing channels. But it is always up to you how many travelers you want to handle during the week or the month.

How much money do I get for hosting?

The amount charged for your hosting should be calculated according to the local hostel and homestay prices. If you are unsure, don’t worry, our team will help you in assessing what may be an appropriate price.